Tuesday, June 2, 2009

And They Said It Wouldn't Last...

By Ana Aragón

Ah. Weddings.

Radiant bride and groom, flowers and music, tear-stained mothers’ cheeks, gloating groomsmen. While the Happily Every After (HEA) in a romance story doesn’t necessary require a wedding, I personally love a good, prim and proper, Regency wedding after a three-hundred-fifty page romp through Hyde Park and the parlors and ballrooms of the ton.

But for a real-life wedding, you can’t beat a feisty New Mexican wedding à la Fools Rush In.

This past weekend, I attended a cousin’s church wedding in Albuquerque, one of two life events certain to bring even the most reclusive family member out of hiding (the other being a funeral.) The bride and groom were dressed in white, their dozen or so bridesmaids in various shades of green. Handsome groomsmen and ushers wore black tuxedos with massive belt buckles instead of cummerbunds, and black cowboy hats at their sides.

The church was bulging at the seams as family and friends from Georgia to California and Colorado to México filled the pews. The service and music were in Spanish, Mariachi music filling the cavernous sanctuary. I enjoyed being immersed in the lyrical sounds and musical notes of my native language. It’s amazing how easy it was for my brain synapses to reconnect so that Spanish nouns preceded their adjectives and verbs perfectly conjugated as I spoke with aunts, uncles and cousins.

But I digress.

Following the wedding and on the way to the reception and dance at the VFW Post 99 (the venue of choice for family celebrations) my mother and I laughingly recalled various weddings, including our own. Trust me, there isn’t space enough to do adequate justice to the weddings in my family!

My wedding was a small, intimate affair, at a non-demoninational church (to offend both families equally) with 250 friends and family in attendance and a no-liquor reception at the church (if you don’t count Uncle Tony’s impromptu bar in the trunk of his car.) My husband had attended several family weddings by this time and insisted on a liquor-free reception, as he wasn’t too fond of the game they typically played after the men were inebriated called, “Pick on the Biggest Gringo.”

But the opportunity to attend their first non-Roman Catholic wedding ever brought out all of my immediate, and not so immediate, family. My aunts couldn’t fathom a plain cake and punch reception, so they catered their wedding special of green chile enchiladas, carne adovada, posole, beans, rice, homemade tortillas…oh, and sliced ham and rolls and a green salad for the groom’s family.

Thankfully, the requisite fight in the parking lot between a couple of young, macho cousins filled with liquor, chests puffed in indignation over some small slight, probably having to do with someone’s sister, never occurred.

Even so, I doubt my husband’s family ever recovered. And the prediction it wouldn't last six months? Not even close.

My mother and father, on the other hand, were married at my mother’s home church in Mountainair, New Mexico at the end of World War II, thiry years before my own. My mother’s younger sister, Presy, and her husband, my Uncle Tony, had preceded them to the altar two years prior, and were their attendants. My father and Uncle Tony were rakehells of the first order, and after a quick reception they drove to Albuquerque to present the newlyweds to the extended family. The men enjoyed a beer (or two) and a shot (or two) of hard liquor at each stop in celebration of the momentous event.

My father and uncle enjoyed themselves so much, in fact, that they missed the appointment with the wedding photographer. Alas, no professional photos exist of that memorable day, but my mother insists it was probably for the best, since the groom and best man were well into their cups by late afternoon.

But the lack of professional photographs was only a speed bump to the real disappointment of the day. My father and uncle, in their haste to purchase enough celebratory brew for the next day, a Sunday, neglected to save cash enough to pay for the newlywed’s hotel room. My father showed off his Friday paycheck, uncashed, but the hotel clerk would not be budged.

There was no room at the inn.

Aunt Presy consoled my mother in the back seat of the car, and they headed to their small apartment. Uncle Tony, ever magnanimous, offered to build them a comfy pallet on the living room floor. (You didn’t think he’d offer his bed, did you?)

So that was the inauspicious beginning to a marriage that, as of May 29, 2009, spanned sixty-two years, and produced five children, fifteen grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Which only goes to prove that a lifetime of marriage and happiness, an HEA, doesn’t necessarily have to start with a picture-perfect wedding!

The photograph above, starting at the left, is my mother, my father, and Aunt Presy at the reception Saturday evening. Uncle Tony, unfortunately, passed away this past year and missed his only grandson's wedding.

I'm sure he enjoyed it from his front row seat in heaven.

Please share your family wedding faux pas. We all have our Fools Rush In stories, and I'd love to hear yours!


Sandy Elzie said...


What a great story! I loved it! Before my wedding started, my brother used my parent's car to go buy more ice, pocketing the keys. AFTER the wedding and the short non-alcoholic reception at the church, we were to go to the groom's parent's home for a huge dinner thrown for all their close friends.

My family was invited, so my brother jumped into his car and drove over...leaving my parents stranded at the church with their car...and no keys. They missed the dinner. No cell phones back then to call and check on where they were. Being the bride, and being expected to mingle, I didn't miss them in the crowd of about
60+ until we sat down to eat.

Just for the record, mom & dad were married 51 years before they both died...a month apart and hubby and I are well on our way of catching up to them at 42 and counting.


Debbie Kaufman said...

I don't have a wedding faux pas story, but I loved the tales of your family, Ana. Thanks for the entertaining morning read.

Cinthia Hamer said...

Ana, thanks for sharing the pics and story of your family's wedding stories.

My parents eloped to Yuma, AZ, back in 1949, so no excitement there, except for the rather unkind comments my dad's dad made about his son's choice of a bride. :( (Latina, divorced, with THREE kids!)

Thirty years later, at my own wedding, the only "faux pas", I can think of was that a guy I'd known for years and considered a friend, spilled red punch on my wedding dress. (on purpose, I think, because just a few weeks before, he'd suddenly declared himself and expected me to just dump my fiance' for him.)

Too bad we didn't have Oxy Clean back then! LOL!

CiCi Barnes said...

Great story, Aná. What a family! I know you guys have tons of fun when you're together.

The faux pas in my wedding occurred when the minister gave hubby his own ring to put on my hand and then gave me my ring to put on his hand. We went ahead and pushed the rings on, then exchanged rings during the prayer. I was so afraid one of us would drop a ring and it would go rolling down the aisle, but we managed to keep the rings in our hands.

The rings have now been on the proper fingers for forty years.

Great post to start the month of weddings and HEA talk.


Marilyn Baron said...

I loved your post and hearing about your family. My wedding went off without a hitch but it did rain that day. My mother said it was lucky when it rained on your wedding day and I have always believed her. I'm not sure that's true but I've been marrried almost 35 years so maybe there's something to that.

Marilyn Baron

Ana Aragón said...


Your poor parents! How long did they stay at the church?

And your brother...did he ever live that incident down?

Thanks for sharing! And congrats on making it 42 years!

Ana Aragón said...

Hey, Debbie,

Thanks for stopping by!


A Latina divorcee with three children? Oh, my! Your father was quite the rebel, wasn't he?

So are you 1/2 Latina?

Red punch on your dress? That guy would have been pummeled at one of my family's weddings!


Ana Aragón said...

Hey, CiCi,

Great story about the wedding rings! There's no way the minister would have mistaken our rings...Mike's always outweighed me by 100 pounds or so...!

Thanks for sharing!


Ana Aragón said...


A rainy wedding...yes, I've heard that. Our wedding was in February, and it rarely rains that time of the year in Albuquerque. In fact, even if it rains, it moves through very quickly.

Thanks for sharing!


Maxine Davis said...

Wonderful story and I really enjoyed the post. I would love to go to a wedding like that; it sounds like so much fun for everybody.

Not a biggie (for me) at my wedding. It was the 1st time my Dad wore a tuxedo. Of course, the van with his tux in it was stolen just before the wedding, but he 'persuaded' them to bring him another. I didn't know until we got back from honeymoon.

Ours? 34 1/2 years and counting

Ana Aragón said...

What I enjoy the most is the stories...it's so much fun because everyone remembers something different. We spend most of the time laughing.

34 1/2 years? You've got us by two!


P Mason said...

Wow, congrats to everyone on their long marriages. I'm proud of the 27 years we've had!
The night before and the morning of my wedding, the heavens opened and practically flooded Baton Rouge. Me & my bridesmaids & my Dad & brother all got dressed at my brother's house, and they laid sheets of plywood on the dirt in the front yard so I wouldn't get muddy. The neighbors were all excited to see the limo & they came out to see the bride, but when I walked out the door, all my bridesmaids took a corner of my dress & held it up -- Way Up! Like, see the garters & stockings & lacey undies for my wedding night UP! I was a head bobbing in an acre of white, oblivious to my exposure, just trying to get to the car without slipping!
My husband wishes there was a pic of that!

Cyrano said...

Ah, weddings. There are so many reasons to love them. The happy bride and groom, seeing family and friends for the first time in ages, getting dressed up and my favorite, the food.
I wish to one day be invited to a spanish wedding. That's my new goal in life after reading your post...what fun, what amazing food!! What is carne adovada and posole? My stomach is growling just thinking about the aromas and flavor explosions that must have wafted through the reception hall.
I adored your post and loved the pictures Ana.
Thanks so much for sharing with us!
Have a gorgeous afternoon,

Dianna Love said...

Great wedding stories. the food alone sounds worth crashing the wedding. "g"

Two major players in my family were squabbling so at the dress rehearsal the night before I sat on the steps of the altar and told the chaplain that the first one to start a fight was out and I had other people to give me away if my dad was the guilty one. Oddly enough, both parties got along wonderfully that day and for almost a week after.

I was 29 when I got married so I pretty much took everything in stride on my wedding day and decided Karl & I were going to have a good time no matter what, which we did.

Ana Aragón said...


I can just see you on those altar steps! We always have a fight at our weddings...it's part and parcel of a wedding...like something old, something new, something borrowed, where's the fight?

Thanks for stopping by!


Sally Kilpatrick said...


Great post. I love that you point out that happy marriages don't necessarily begin with perfect weddings.

On on hand, I was extremely lucky because it was a nice balmy 65-70 degrees on the 3rd of January, 1998, but we did have our own little faux pas.

At the rehearsal the night before, the minister says "and then I'm going to ask you a stupid question: Do you have the rings? Of course you're going to have the rings, why wouldn't you have the rings?

Well, the next day I am about to walk down the very short aisle with my choked up father, also in a tux for the first time ever, and I, the beautiful blushing bride that I am, say, "Oh, s$%@#! We don't have the rings."

I get down to the front and lean to my Matron of Honor at the first opportunity and tell her through mostly closed lips the predicament. She stealthily bends to straighten my gown and whispers it to my mother who sneaks into the back of the church and retrieves the rings. A few minutes later, Janette again bends to straighten my train--it must have been wrinkled--and my Mom slips her both rings.

The inevitable question arises, and that's the first the Best Man thinks of it. On the video you can see his eyes bug out to epic proportions. Janette produced both rings, crisis averted, and we were married less than 8 minutes later (gotta love Methodist ceremonies) and off to the punch and cake reception.

That horrifying moment has provdied 11-plus years of entertainment and some great ribbing for the Best Man!

Glad you reminded me of it yet again.


Ana Aragón said...

LOL! I'll bet it's fun to watch that video.

Our wedding was officiated by a Methodist minister, and yes, they're great. The wedding this weekend lasted an hour and 20 minutes...but who was counting?

Thanks for sharing!


Ana Aragón said...

Hi, P...

Your post must have hit at the same time as Diana's.

What a funny story. I'll bet the neighbors got an eyeful! That would make a great scene in a movie...

Thanks for stopping by!


Ana Aragón said...

Hey, Tamara,

You would really love the food. Posole is hominy with pork (used to be pig's feet, but only the elders use it now) with red chile (and other spices...depends on the cook.)

Carne adovada is beef in a red chile sauce that's baked in the oven for several hours...it just melts in your mouth.

It sounds like I'm going to have to have a Mexican feast at my house and invite everyone over!


Linsey Lanier said...

Wow. Some great insights to our personal lives and history here.

I don't have a real faux pas story either, except that my DH and I postponed and changed our plans so much (mostly because of me), that we ended up going to the courthouse, me with a hastily-purchased armful of red roses.

Our witnesses were a pair who were in a similar state as Ana's father and uncle. We both still reminisce about their two little kids playing with the judge's pipes as he read the vows.

A fun post, Ana!


Ana Aragón said...

Hey, Linsey,

Thanks for stopping by! Your wedding would make a great scene in a book! See, that's my ploy...we've got a great portfolio of wedding scenes to use!


Tami Brothers said...

I love weddings!!! I'm really looking forward to all these posts this month.

This was a ton of fun to read, Ana. I actually attended a Mexican wedding with my very first boyfriend in high school. That was a huge eye opener to me at how wild his family was. Alas, that relationship ended when I told him (at 16) that I did plan to attend college...grin...

But I met my soon-to-be husband a week later and have been married for 18 years next month. The faux pas I remember was the beautifully decorated white car and our friends and family running into the reception hall, yelling that we needed to go out and pull off the streamers because it was getting ready to rain like crazy. We didn't want a rainbow colored car so we rushed out to rip off all their hard work. Ahhhh. Good times....grin...

Thanks for the trip down memory lane, Ana!!!

Great post!!!


Cinthia Hamer said...

Good evening, everyone. Loved all those wedding stories.

Ana, yes, this git deserved to be pummeled for the punch down the dress, but I'm such a nice person (*snerk*) I just sailed on without making much of a fuss. Let's just say I got him back a couple years later...I won't go into the details.

I am, indeed, half latina, but my dad's family were/are the descendants of Vikings, hence the hair and eye color. I DID inherit my mom's bottom and thighs, though!

Tamara, since you live within hollering distance, I'll have to invite you and Dusty over for Mexican food one weekend.

Mary Marvella said...

Loved all the wedding stories!

In 1942 my 17 year old parents walked to the courthouse in Augusta, Georgia, then walked back to my grandma's house and told her they were married. He was a soldier. My grandma told an aunt to make the sofa in the living room for them.

No problems at my wedding or my daughter's.

Susan May said...

The was great. I loved every word of it. I laughed out loud. Thanks for also sharing the pictures of your family.

Ana Aragón said...

Hi, Tammy,

Yes, the weddings can be wild. But at my parent's 50th anniversary, my nephew and the cousin who got married this weekend got into a tiff and my sister (5'2, 115 pounds) jumped in to protect her son (6'2, 190 pounds). It was the funniest sight.

Thanks for sharing your story!


Ana Aragón said...


My kids will be like you. I have one blond, blue-eyed, Mark has hazel eyes, dark hair, but was blond until he was 10 or so, and Jennifer has beautiful green eyes and blonde curls.

You will have to share your getting-back at the jerk story sometime!

Ana Aragón said...

Hi, Marvella,

Thanks for stopping by. That's a great story about your parents. How long did the marriage last?


Ana Aragón said...

Hey, Susan,

Thanks for stopping by and I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I promise every word is true!

I never realized how much I enjoy a good family gathering. Because we live so far away, I don't get to many of them.


Carol Burnside said...

Ah, this was great! Funny thing about family gatherings, they're both wonderful and horrible by turns. Oftentimes, you're just as eager to leave as you were to get there, but oh, the memories in-between. {G}

Thanks for sharing!

Devon Gray said...

Great post, Ana! My wedding funny story: Just moments before walking down the aisle one of my bridesmaids gave me a Certs Gel Mint. I don't know if they even make them anymore, but the "gel" poriton consisted of a "burst" of minty freshness in the center that turned your tongue the color of a disinfected toilet bowl. I went through the entire ceremony and most of the reception this way. We had a photograph taken of me sticking my tongue out and my husband feinging a surprised look. It was our Christmas card picture that year and the caption read...Hope you don't have a blue Christmas!

Becki Fedorow said...

Anna - I really enjoyed your wedding post, especially since I have been there through your entire 32 years of marriage, plus one before and know you, of all people, must be an expert on good marriages, as yours excels. I, on the other hand have had 3 up and 3 down - last one 23 years (What was I thinking? Isn't that a country song???) Anyway, my faux paux - first wedding, photographer shows up late - wasn't on the schedule- he just happened to remember (I was panicked - 400 guests - long drawn out Catholic wedding) I had a chapel length veil and my maid of honor picked it and my train up so I could walk to the Virgin Mary and she fell backwards off of the alter step. IT was really funny later, but she was embarrassed. Second wedding - I was sick in the hospital for a week before the wedding and the doctors could not tell what was wrong except I was dehydrated. Got out of the hospital to go to the wedding. I was sick as a dog before the wedding. As soon as I took my vows I was 100% well again. Who knows why? That one ended 10 years later (but hey I still have the pictures, unlike the first one - where did they all go anyway???) Thanks for your blog Anna. Here's to another 32 years with your husband (and me).

Becki Gaedke Curran Yoshimoto Fedorow

Ana Aragón said...

Hey, Carol,

Thanks for stopping by! As I get older, I'm more anxious to stay than to leave. I actually get teary-eyed at them because I never know who won't be at the next one.


What a great story...and using it as a Christmas card was brilliant!


I knew you'd appreciate reading about the wedding, since you were there. And I didn't know about the first wedding, but I do remember your being sick for the Yoshimoto wedding (that's how I keep track of them...lol) You must've not been too sick after the wedding...wasn't Tami born 9 months later?

Looking forward to your visit this summer...maybe we can think of some trouble to get into...!